"Just imagine yourself in the near future getting decked out in your cybersensual suit for a hot night on the nets. You plug your jack into your cybernetic interface device, which then enables you to receive and transmit realistic tactile sensations. Suddenly, you are in a strange new world where you can run your hands through virtual hair, touch virtual silk, unzip virtual clothing and caress virtual flesh."
The Joy of Cybersex, published in 1993 by Brady (publishers of those BradyGames strategy guides), is a newcomer's guide to the boundless and enticing world of digital sex. This being 1993, before the rise of the internet, cybersex here means porny CD-ROMS, vague promises of "virtual reality," and most of all: adult BBSes, or Bulletin Board Systems.
This book is a fascinating snapshot of these things. Content warnings are in order, though. The authors of the book are prone to casually mentioning bestiality, though there's no depiction of it anywhere, and trans women exist to the staff of The Joy of Cybersex exclusively as a fetish.
The book is written as an advertisement for cybersex, the concept, and the text is very rarely critical. For all the techno-utopianism of the book - cybernetic fucksuits! - The Joy of Cybersex upholds lots of very normative ideas about sex.
It's nevertheless a fascinating artifact of a little-documented time in the intersection of sex and technology - especially Part Three, a survey of online BBS networks from the perspective of a woman author. Despite the generally affirmative tone of the book, this chapter nonetheless paints a really familiar portrait of what it's like to exist as a woman online.
Because of the sheer size of the book (over 350 pages!) and the varying archaeological interest each part caters to, I've split the scans up into five different parts. Descriptions below.
Thanks to Simon Carless for donating the book and ANNARCHIVE supporters for crowdfunding my efforts to archive it!
> file list:
The Joy of Cybersex Part 1
Part 1, "Learning the Ropes," is a general introduction to using computers and getting online, circa 1993. This section includes the cover, table of contents, and a foreword by Kathy Keeton, Vice-Chairman of General Media International and President of Omni, Logevity and Compute. The quote at the top of this page is from her.
The Joy of Cybersex Part 2
Part 2, "Looking for Love on All the Right Disks," is an guide to the contemporary erotic software market written by a "husband and wife team." The collection ranges from simple image collections to some of the earliest attempts at "interactive multimedia," like The Interactive Adventures of Seymore Butts ("With The Interactive Adventures of Seymore Butts, you will see more butts."), SeXXcapades, and Virtual Valerie by Mike Saenz (co-creator of Spaceship Warlock and author of early digital comic Shatter).
The Joy of Cybersex Part 3
Part 3, "Mama Told Me Not to Come," is a guide to thirty different adult and "adult" Bulletin Board Services by Nancy Tamosaitis, featuring reviews with users, operators and founders. It's an interesting and sometimes upsetting account of what navigating the pre-internet online world as a woman is like, and it makes up the bulk of The Joy of Cybersex.
The Joy of Cybersex Inserts
The Joy of Cybersex's full-color inserts, "A Tour of Cybersex," are mostly just stills from porn games. There's a bonus image of a "cyberlesque" dancer.
The Joy of Cybersex Part 4
Finally, Part 4, "Cybersex Visions," is enthusiastic fanfiction about the possibility of virtual reality sex that superficially describes a lot of Second Life pretty well. ("Does the idea of making love as a dolphin or snake thrill you?" "Will having two vaginas or penises double your pleasure?") It features interviews with people like Jill Hunt, who directed the cybersex scenes in Lawnmower Man and Lisa Palac, editor of Future Sex magazine.
This section also includes the Appendices, directories of adult BBSes and porn CD-ROM producers, and a guide to using the included disk, unfortunately not included with my copy of the book. It apparently contains the games "Strip Poker 3" and "Jigsaw Pinups." There's also an index.